Tzu Chi Foundation responded to a distress call from Shuilien Tribe in Shoufeng, Hualien. Due to ongoing aftershocks, 30 seniors felt unsafe at home. Volunteers swiftly arranged partition tents and multi-purpose foldable beds at the shelter, ensuring their safety and peace of mind. | Photo provided by Tzu Chi Foundation | Hualien, Taiwan | 2024/04/23

"Another earthquake!" The caring words from Tzu Chi Foundation's social worker over the phone were met with fearful voices on the other end... Throughout the night, as aftershocks rattled relentlessly, residents of Hualien struggled to sleep, their fears from the April 3 earthquake reignited. Master Cheng Yen, founder of Tzu Chi, deeply concerned for her fellow residents, immediately initiated relief efforts.

Twenty days since a major 7.4 magnitude quake struck Hualien on April 3, two major aftershocks have once again shaken the residents of Hualien. On April 23 at 2:26 a.m. two strong quakes measuring magnitude 6 and 6.3 struck within six minutes, causing the collapse of the Fouquet Hotel and the Commander Building, fortunately without casualties. Within the 24 hours prior and after the magnitude 6 earthquakes, over 200 aftershocks between magnitude 4 to 6 were felt.

Volunteers patiently made phone calls to check on the elderly and care recipients, soothing their frightened hearts. | Photo by Zhonghua Chen

Relentless tremors, unwavering care

Early in the morning, after receiving reports on the situation, Master Cheng Yen instructed that volunteers from various places engaged in house repairs should assess safety first and temporarily halt their work. Immediate care and calming of people's hearts were of utmost importance. Social workers promptly made phone calls to check on care recipients, while repair teams and local volunteers in Hualien visited and provided care.

"No one else has come to check on us, only Tzu Chi volunteers." The sense of reassurance from the blue and white uniforms deeply moved local resident Jin-feng Liu, who shed tears of gratitude. A retired police officer said: "With worried faces everywhere in the streets, seeing Tzu Chi volunteers come to offer care brings great comfort to everyone."

Throughout the night, as aftershocks continued, repair efforts were temporarily halted, prioritizing care for affected residents, offering heartfelt blessings. | Photo by Wenda Li

In the afternoon of the 23rd, the Shuilien Tribe in Shoufeng Township urgently sought assistance from Tzu Chi. About 30 elderly people, fearing continuous aftershocks, dared not sleep at home and were urgently relocated to the Shuilien Community Activity Center. Since April 21st, the epicenter has shifted southward, and both Yanliao and Shuilien are located on the main fault line, hence the fear experienced by residents living in Shoufeng is understandable. When volunteers received word of their fears, they promptly prepared 15 Jing Si partition tents, 30 Tzu Chi multi-purpose foldable beds, and Tzu Chi's nutritious rice porridge, and headed to the area, hoping to provide peace of mind for the elderly.

As the tremors persist, love and care are needed more than ever. Volunteers remain on standby, offering sincerity and prayers for a disaster-free world.

To know more about Tzu Chi multi-purpose foldable beds, click here.